Gvardiol has earned the nickname ‘Little Pep’ due to the similarity between the surnames of the two. It is no coincidence that Manchester City want to sign him, as he is one of the most promising defenders in Europe at the age of 20.
According to Krosche, Gvardiol is one of the best defensive talents in Europe
Manchester City are combing the market for centre-backs in the event Nathan Ake seals a move to Chelsea. Should the Blues sign the Dutch defender, Pep Guardiola will reportedly try to strengthen his defence by signing Josko Gvardiol. Gvardiol has earned the nickname ‘Little Pep’ due to the similarity between the surnames of the two. It is no coincidence that Manchester City want to sign him, as he is one of the most promising defenders in Europe at the age of 20. The former Dinamo Zagreb player left last season for RB Leipzig in exchange for 18.8 million euros and has already earned ten caps for Croatia under Zlatko Dalic. Former Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche made clear at Gvardiol’s presentation that the club had signed one of the most talented players around. “We have signed one of the best defensive talents in Europe,” he noted.
Josko is an extraordinary talent
“He is left-footed, which gives us even more options. He’s still young, but physically and mentally, he’s already very mature.” His signing was endorsed by Ivica Olic, who played for Bayern Munich and is currently Dalic’s assistant at Croatia. “He is an extraordinary talent,” said Olic. “Josko can play good long balls; he is technical and physically strong.” Meanwhile, Croatia Under-17 coach Tomislav Rukavina likened Gvardiol to Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva in an interview with Goal. “His self-confidence, his leadership skills and his courage remind me of Thiago Silva,” Rukavina noted. “He is solid, quick and agile, he has great jumping timing and excellent heading ability. He also has great vision.” In his debut season in the Bundesliga, he has played 29 games, scoring two goals and registering two assists, doing a great job with and without the ball.
Gvardiol has established himself as a centre-back, but he performed well at left-back with Croatia at the Euro 2020
According to Fbref, Gvardiol has been the third player with the most touches (2,416) in the league. Meanwhile, he is the fifth player with the most passes in the final third of the pitch (165), the sixth with the most completed passes (1,722) and the tenth in terms of the most distance covered with the ball at his feet (4,073 metres). Gvardiol was also the fifth player with the most interceptions (89) in the Bundesliga last season. Gvardiol has established himself as a centre-back, but he performed well at left-back with Croatia at the 2020 European Championship. “I played as a striker as a child, and that helps me to know the movements of the strikers,” he claimed. The Manchester City transfer target revealed in the past that there were two people who played an essential role in his career.
“The first was Dalibor Poldrugac, who put me at centre-back,” Gvardiol declared. “I think that’s my ideal position. Then came Zoran Mamic, who put me at left-back and gave me total freedom. That change was important because it allowed me to get into the national team and play the European Championship in that position.”